Character Traits with I Need My Monster

Today was one of my favorite read-aloud days!  We read I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll.  If you don't have the book, you can see a really great read-aloud on Storyline Online!

We discussed the difference in character traits and character feelings/emotions.  I was a little worried about how this would go over, but the kids did a really great job sorting the sticky notes inbetween the two categories.  I had written character traits and feelings/emotions about the main character, Ethan, on sticky notes in advance.  This helped keep our time focused and smooth-moving!  We agreed that a couple of the sticky notes could fall in either category.  
After reading the story and discussing the difference in character traits and feelings/emotions (I kept this very simple- traits:  how a character is, their personality and feelings/emotions:  describe how a character feels at a certain time and can be temporary) we broke into small groups.  I had students work together to create one of the monsters from the book.  Working in partners on crafts really help things move quick!  Two people cutting speeds things up tremendously!  I needed a bag for each monster (excluding Gabe) so we just glued the monster onto a paper bag!

Then we went stirring around for character traits in eyeball soup!  I put a spider web package, which is basically cotton balls, and eyeball bouncy balls into a cauldron.  Then, I folded up character traits and put those in between the layers.  Students had to scoop out a piece of paper and unfold it for all of us to see.

We decided which character it belonged to and placed it in their bag.
After we all had a turn, we took out the character traits and made sure that we placed them with the correct monster.
If we had any questions, we looked back into the book for textual evidence!  You can grab the character traits HERE.  If nothing else, you could sort on a pocket chart :)
Let me tell you... this entire activity was a HIT!  They loved making their monster bags (from October RIR) with a partner.  They definitely had a blast with the eyeball soup.  AND let me tell ya... they were anticipating taking home an eyeball all day long, ha!  Most importantly, they thoroughly enjoyed the book and learning more about the monsters.
If you haven't heard... Amanda Noll wrote a sequel to the story.  Check out Hey, That's My Monster HERE!  I hope your students enjoy this book as much as I do!

Elections in the Classroom

With the election coming up, there are so many ways that we can incorporate fun activities into our reading or social studies block without even getting too political with our students.  Our little ones don't need to know all of the details just yet, but introducing them to the election process is definitely important.

Here are some of my favorite election books.  They are just right for our little learners!

One way to introduce the election process is by hosting a little mock election in your classroom.  I am a sucker for Oreos.  I could eat a whole box in no time.  Chocolate or Golden you ask?  I don't discriminate... I love them both!  Give me chocolate with a glass of milk or 10 golden Oreos.  I will eat them all up!
Students will sample each cookie and decide which they like the best.  You could even have them make little campaign posters if you so wish!  Then, students vote on their favorite cookie.  This ballot freebie can be found HERE!  
If you want to go deeper with your election studies, Katie and I have created a one-week Rooted in Reading that would be perfect during November.  BUT, it can also be used when studying about presidents if you don't have time right now.  It goes along Grace for President by Kelly S. DiPucchio.

We've already seen some teacher's get started with this unit!  Look how beautiful this Presidential wall is in 3rdGradeLove's classroom!
 Grace for President is seriously the perfect book for teaching about elections.  It even goes into the electoral college in a way that students can understand.  I also just can't get enough of this main character.  She's determined, brave, and persistent. 
Digging deep into a text is always a key feature of RIR, whether we are having fun with a theme or not!  We also included a Non-Fiction reader about the President's job.

Of course we wanted to incorporate all of the elements of Rooted in Reading, so we also included grammar for the week.  It is more of a review week:  proper nouns, parts of speech, adjectives, and types of sentences.
 The vocabulary section has a fun spin on it with activities you haven't seen in any other Rooted in Reading units!  Some of the activities are election themed, so that makes it extra special!
We hope you enjoy the freebie and reading Grace for President!

A Friendship Lesson

 Today is Unite Against Bullying Day.  I wanted to share a great read-aloud and lesson that you can do with your kiddos during any part of the school year.  Sometimes we just need a little reminder to treat others nicely.  You know those days when your students just can't seem to get along?  This would be a great thing to do during a time like that, and it only takes about 20 minutes or less to do!

I read the book The Yellow Tutu, but really any book with an example of bullying, teasing, or friendships being tested will do!  The Yellow Tutu gives some really concrete examples of teasing, and it's a quick (and precious) read!  This original lesson idea came from Scholastic.  You can find that HERE.
After reading the book, you'll brainstorm the ways in which the main character was negatively affected by the other children.  Write down the words and actions that caused her harm.  I just drew a large body on chart paper and wrote the words there.
Talk to your students about how hurtful words can tear us apart.  Cut each phrase off of the body.  It's like we are left with nothing to give when people hurt us with their words and actions.  It's also a great time to compare Margo throughout the book.  We can really see how she is affected by the other children in the story.

 In the story, it just took one little girl to make a difference in Margo's day.  On band-aids, write down the things that Pearl did to encourage Margo and to build her back up.  Slowly start putting the body back together with the band-aids.
It's important to mention how the hurt doesn't go away even when we put Margo back together.  You can't just erase the feelings that occur after being bullied or put down.  We can forgive and move on, but the things we say and do can impact someone for a lifetime.  
I promise you'll have some really great conversations with your students during this read-aloud!  Hopefully they walk away wanting to be the kind of person that makes other people smile rather than frown :))) 

Multiplication Fact FREEBIE

Are you a 3rd or maybe even 4th grade teacher trying to get your students motivated to memorize those multiplication facts?  Hope and I believe that if students have a solid foundation in skip counting then they will be much more successful with those multiplication facts!  To complement our Magic of Math Unit 3 for 3rd Grade, we have made multiplication bracelets that your students can wear to practice those pesky facts!
We suggest focusing on one fact at a time and really practicing that skip counting.  You definitely don't want to pass out all the bracelets at once!
 Students can use their skip counting patterns to answer the multiplication facts, or you can have them leave the products blank so they can practice time and time again.
If you want your students to have a little fun practicing multiplication,  has some really fun games.  Just click on 3rd grade and scroll down to numbers.  Many of the games you can choose which operation you want to practice.  ABCya also has apps you can download to devices.  They are very interactive and fun, but also educational!
 You can get this FREEBIE by clicking on the picture below or by clicking HERE!
We wish you the best of luck with fact memorization!

Finding Bat Facts: With FREEBIES!

This week second graders are reading Stellaluna and learning about bats.  Today, we focused on nonfiction books and learning information about bats.  We started off with a little bat chart and read-aloud.  We definitely found out some new information!
After our read aloud we discussed the difference between facts and opinions.  I gave sentences about bats to each student.  They came up, read the sentence to the class, and we decided if it was a fact or opinion!
After our mini-lesson, I gave each student a paragraph about bats, blue highlighter, yellow highlighter, and eyeball rings (found at Kroger).  I told the students that the rings were our Fact Finding Friends and they were going to help us distinguish between facts and opinions in the paragraph.  We went through the sentences together, highlighting the facts yellow and the opinions blue.  You can find these fact and opinion freebies HERE!
Afterwards, we made a simple little bat and used sticky notes to represent our learning.  The students wrote an opinion about bats on the blue star sticky note, and a fact on the yellow!  Keeping these the same color as their highlighters really helped them distinguish between the two!  This bat craft is in October's Rooted in Reading :)
We didn't get to this yet, but it's all ready for later in the week.  This little experiment comes from Holly Ehle.  Here's how it works...

Bats use their sense of smell to locate their young.  You get different flavors/scents and put them on cotton balls.  Pass them out randomly to students (not telling them which is which).  They walk around smelling the cotton balls of their classmates.  If they find their bat family, they stick together until all of their members have been found.  Then you can try and guess who has which scent!  I bought the bats to wear around their wrists so they can really act like bats :)))
It was a really fun day jam-packed with lots of fact finding!  This is one of my favorite times of the year in the classroom!!

Multiplication Strategies for 3rd Grade!

Hands down....multiplication is one of the most challenging things to teach in third grade. We have worked extremely hard to find ways to make multiplication challenging, engaging, rigorous...but most importantly FUN! If kids are having fun, we have found that the knowledge actually sticks! 

Each lesson is strategically broken down into three sections. This helps keep our math block consistent, but the breakdown is also tied to research based practices. We begin with a quick 10-15 mini-lesson, followed by independent/guided practice, and concluding with interactive notebooks to demonstrate mastery of the skill covered. Our lessons are also tightly focused to ensure that we are breaking content down so that it builds a strong foundation for our learners. 

Lesson plans are included for each day of instruction: 
Here is what will be covered in 3rd Grade Unit 3: 

Week One is all about introducing multiplication to your students.  They will learn strategies such as repeated addition, making arrays, forming equal groups, and more!
Week two is all about multiplication facts and strategies. Get ready to take your kiddos to a carnival filled with tons of repetition and multiplication practice! 
As they transition on to week three, the students will be working on mastering those properties of multiplication to build fluency and understanding. 
Finally in week four, they will put all new skills to use as they learn to attack those tricky word problems using our P.S.A. strategy! 
We have included everything you could possible need to completely implement this unit into your classroom. This unit is directly correlated to all Common Core and TEKS standards. Here is a look at a few of the other components of the unit: 

You can snag your copy of this unit HERE or by clicking the picture below! 
Happy Teaching! 

Reading Bulletin Board

Did you see Katie's post about building a love of reading at home and in the classroom?  Well, when I saw the Reading Alert Bulletin Board, I just knew I had to make one also!  I love the thought of gathering pictures of the students reading at home.  I didn't need to change anything up, so I pretty much copied Katie's board as closely as I could!
 These giant googly eyes are from Hobby Lobby.  If you don't have a craft store nearby, you can also pick them up on Amazon HERE!  I also picked up a couple of large bows :)

 The pictures of students reading at home will be layered on top of the yellow paper as the year goes on.
 If you are wanting to know how to make large bulletin board letters, check out THIS post for a little video tutorial!